Charlotte, N.C. -- Former 49er cross country and track & field standout Cassie (Ficken) Slade has been selected to represent Team USA in the upcoming Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Slade, who will represent Team USA for the first time in her athletic career, will be competing in the 10,000-meters. She is one of two women who will run for the U.S. in the 2011 Games, which will take place Oct. 14th - 30th.
Additionally, Slade has qualified for the US Olympic Trials in both the marathon and the 10,000-meters. She will compete in the marathon trials this January in Houston, TX, and the 10,000-meters in June 2012, in hopes of making the U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in the London 2012 Games.
In her time with the Niners, Slade was a record setter on the track, winning eight conference titles, two All-Region honors, qualifying for four national meets and securing the first women's All-America accolade in Charlotte 49ers history. Earning All-America status in the 3000-meters during the 2005 indoor season, Slade remains the school record holder at that distance.
Current Niners cross country coach Ed Schlichter was a teammate of Slade's during their undergraduate years at Charlotte. "She was such a great competitor," he remembered, "that she earned the nickname 'copperhead', not just for her hair color (as she is a redhead), but for the venomous attack she would engage in on the track."
Slade currently resides in Highlands Ranch, CO with her husband, former 49er mile great Russell Slade. She works fulltime as a civil engineer in Denver, but loves to escape to the mountains on the weekend with her husband and their very athletic dog Chubbs.
"It's really great seeing our former athletes and one of my closest friends achieve such high levels of success after graduating from Charlotte," Schlichter said. "I wish her nothing but the best as she takes on some of the world's best, and gears up for the Olympic Trials."
For more information on the 2011 Pan Am games, click here.